I often wondered why I liked The Avengers so much. Some of the episodes can answer this question to some degree. I feel that "Game" is certainly one of these episodes, along with Fog, another fine example.
"Game" stands out as one of the best for suspense. A good series of characters were used. The plot centered around a game that required the different skills of these characters, challenging them to a duel in a bid for revenge. They had to use their knowledge to survive against a very cunning villain very well played by Peter Jeffery, who sadly passed away recently. He was always one of the best in these character roles.
The villain was a very cute, cunning and well-educated match for our John Steed. This was the first time he had to draw on his skills as a spy to get out of the totally bizarre situations, and this time he had to win back his partner, Tara King. Steed had to fight with every ounce of strength both in terms of skill and cunning. Steed was more serious in this episode, and his face quite often showed fear. After all, he had to fight for Tara's life.
The question put by the villain was, "Did I create myself, or did others create me?" as spoken by Peter Jeffery to one of his adversaries. The villain knew how to get at Steed by using bait, and the bait was Tara herself.
The relationship between Steed and Tara was the best in terms of teamwork. They worked more together than in other episodes, and Steed, the perfect gentleman, came to Tara's rescue when she was in trouble. There was real danger when he was locked in the room between the doors, and which one to pick that was the question. Eventually our Steed picked the right door, but still he was going to have to overcome many obstacles along the path (as is often in life). Eventually Steed won back his perfect partner.
The fight scenes were very good, and the action is was always perfect in The Avengers. I think that Steed showed a lot of emotion in this episode. This time he had a real villain to contend with who was equal in skill.
To summarize, all of the characters showed a lot of vulnerability, and our two gallant heroes came across as human after all. The plot used in this episode was a great idea and is at the top of the list, in my opinion. The music is one of my favorite themes and the opening sequence using the shield and amour sequence is very good. I have a copy of "Game" and I would strongly recommend this episode to any die-hard fans around the world.
This was not a bad start for the Tara King series, although it did lack in wit and charm. The direction could have been better because you sometimes you have to ask yourself..."Huh, what happened—is he dead?..." But it is otherwise good.
Once again Tara plays the helpless victim, which is why many people say she spoilt everything that Cathy Gale and Emma Peel worked for: the liberalisation of women, something that was way ahead of its time when Cathy appeared on TV screens in 1963. But I believe that, although Tara was a bit helpless, she is not as bad as some people make her out to be; Linda Thorson was not to blame, and she tried her best at the part.
It is an excellent episode for suspense and speculation. The ideas are very original, not like the usual "secrets being leaked from the inside" job. When I first saw it I was not wondering "who will die next?", more like "how is the next person going to die?" Call me morbid, but that's what I thought.
I felt the chemistry between Steed and Tara was at its best, because Steed is prepared to risk his life to come to Tara's rescue. And rather than shoot the bad guys he would prefer to free Tara from her rapidly filling hourglass. This might be because he wants some help beating up the bad guys, but it still works for Steed being the perfect gentleman.
The suspense of the door numbers is thrilling, and Steed has the clever idea of opening two doors opposite each other which subsequently have toy soldiers behind them with guns, so they shoot each other... very nifty! The twists and turns of the board game and the maze are brilliant especially with light touches such as "Meet Japanese sumo wrestler, miss a turn"... hmmm, very delicate touch!
In a summary, the direction is excellent, the fight scenes are well choreographed and the diabolical mastermind is great.
I give this episode 3/5 bowlers.
Steed plays a game — and Tara is the prize
For me, "Game" is possibly the best Tara episode. Steed plays a fictional game called "Super Secret Agent." If you think about it, when Steed is playing the game, he crawls through a air-vent thing just like James Bond (Sean Connery) does in Dr. No (although Bond does not wear or destroy a bowler hat when he does it). In the tag scene, Steed and Tara play a game called Steedopoly. Of course every move Tara makes is wrong, and every move Steed makes is right. And to complete the episode, Peter Jeffery plays Monte Bristow. I give "Game" four bowlers out of five.
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